Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’4” 225 lbs. DOB: 7/11/90
(Inland Empire/AZL-Angels): 0-3, 3.81 ERA, 16 BBs, 22 Ks, 26.0 IP
Due to an undisclosed injury, Austin Wood lost most of 2013. That was too bad because Wood has one of the most intriguing arms in the system.
Wood can truly bring the heat, sitting regularly at 95-97, and has the potential to dial it up to 98-99 when he needs to. He has a plus slider that is more of a slurve, with hard, late breaking action. He has a sinker that sits in the low 90s that he uses to generate ground balls and a developing changeup.
Aside from health, Wood’s biggest two biggest challenges have been in his release point and generating more movement on his fastball. He’s been very inconsistent with his, which has resulted in 88 BBs to 132 Ks in 155.0 professional IP. When his mechanics are on, he’s wicked; when he’s off, he really struggles. Similarly, when he can generate more movement with his fastball, he’s very tough to hit; when he’s off, his pitches come in straight and hitters can catch up to them, as shown by 158 hits in 155.0 IP.
The Angels have debated how to develop Wood. Some truly see him as a dominant bullpen arm, where he could become a closer. Others see his arsenal playing out well in the rotation, where he could be a top-tiered starter. If he’s moved to the bullpen, and comes back healthy, he could move quickly through the system. If he’s a starter, it might take a year or two more to develop him. Either way, look for the Angels to start cautiously with him in 2014 while they rebuild his arm strength, then making a decision from there.
Please click here to watch an interview that we did with Austin Wood.